Last night was Kro Bar’s monthly whiskey tasting night involving a range of whiskey from the Irish based Cooley Distillery.
For those of you who don’t know what Kro Bar is, they’re a Danish family business who specialise in Danish food and beer. A popular idea, they’ve expanded from 1 outlet to 5 in the space of 10 years.
Our host for the evening was Alex Johnson of Eaux de Vie, and he took us through a thorough history of Cooley Distillery itself as well as each individual brand under their portfolio. These included –
– Kilbeggan Blended
– Greenore 8 year old Single Grain
– Tyroconnell Single Malt
– Tyroconnell 10 year old Madeira Cask Finish Single Malt
– Connemara Peated Single Malt
– Connemara Turf Mor Peated Single Malt
Now I’ve personally never tried any of these whiskies before so this was another great insight into another part of the whiskey world. Below are my tasting notes on each whiskey offered to us:-
Kilbeggan Blended – 40% £23.99 rrp
Kilbeggan distillery has the title of the world oldest distillery under its belt (opened 1757) so with a whiskey steeped in history, we expected something a little special, and it delivered. On the nose it gave off a subtle mix of both vanilla and a rather sweet caramel aroma, whilst a soft and almost silky taste of caramel and dark chocolate lay themselves down on your palate, giving you a creamy finish. Recommended as a good starter whiskey to unfamiliar Irish whiskey drinkers, and I’d whole-heartedly agree!
Greenore 8 year old Single Grain – 40% £31 rrp
Produced in a continuous still instead of the traditional copper pot still, the Greenore 8yr is lighter in taste but rougher on the back of the throat. So with this in mind, the nose gave off some delicate citrus notes with a slight mix of corn. As it hits your tongue, it gives you a short, sharp hit but mellows quickly into a more distinctive citrus taste with a hint of barley coming through as it gives you a subtle burn (not as harsh as you would expect a grain whiskey to be).
Tyroconnell Single Malt – 40% £32 rrp
Named after a race horse back in America, it was originally produced by the Watts Distillery until prohibition forced them to settle in Ireland. Tyrocennell was Americas biggest selling whiskey before the prohibition, and was one of the first to be brought back to life by Cooleys in 1992. On the nose it gave off a fresh mix of jasmine, malt and honey with the palate enjoying a fruity blend of orange and lemon with the malt making a strong presence in the long after-taste.
Tyroconnell 10 year old Madeira Cask Finish Single Malt – 46% £49 rrp
Initially matured in American oak barrels, it finished life off for 6-8 months in a Madeira cask. Hints of cinnamon softly enter your nose but you get a kick of mixed spice as it hits your palate.
Connemara Peated Single Malt – 40% £31 rrp
Connemara distinguishes itself away from the Scotch peated whiskies as being produced in rural areas, not coastal, so there’s no powering hit of sea spray or iodine. On the nose it gives you a balance of dried fruits, honey and wild flower. The palate however gives you a silky smooth start of honey, with a more powerful and intense taste of fruit and peat coming through giving it a long finish.
Connemara Turf Mor Peated Single Malt – 46% £51 rrp
What Alex described as ‘bringing out the heavy stuff’, the last whiskey of the night was the heavily peated Connemara Turf Mor. It gives off a rich mix of salt, spice and subtle smoke. On the palate it gives you an intense kick of peat and smoak but develops into a mellow after-taste that leaves dry spice flavours lingering.
Mid-way through the tastings, Kro supplied us with a delicious lamb-stew which went down very well on a cold and rainy night in Manchester!
A thoroughly enjoyable night in which we were able to sample a good range of what both Cooley Distillery and Ireland have to offer. Irish whiskey hasn’t been something I’ve taken much notice of in the past, with only Jamesons and Bushmills my only knowledgable ports of call. But I’ll be looking out for the Kilbeggan Blend as well as the Greenore 8yr which Alex says are widely available in places likes Corks Out.
Next month’s Kro 2 whisky tasting will be hosted by Compass Box who are an independent Scotch whisky company. On offer will be Great King Street, Spice Tree, Hedonism, The Peat Monster and Orangerie. 5 whiskies I’ve never tried, but can’t wait to taste!
Check out Kro’s website here – http://www.kro.co.uk/
You can purchase all of the above Irish whiskeys here – http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/productlist.php?catid=41 or http://www.corksout.com/categories/Spirits/Whisky-%26-Malts/Irish-Whiskey/
Take a look at Cooley Distillery here – http://www.cooleywhiskey.com/